Stakes high in Mandera as clan endorses former MP

By Boniface Ongeri and Abdisalan Ahmed

A former Mandera East MP has been endorsed to contest the newly created Lafey constituency seat.

Shaban Ali Issack was nominated by the influential Murulle Clan Council of Elders at a meeting in Arabia in Mandera County.

Issack was picked over Mandera East MP Mohammed Hussein Qaras, who had also expressed interest for the Lafey constituency.

The decision was reached during a clan caucus in Arabia where Abdiaziz Ali Farah was anointed as the sole candidate for the Mandera East parliamentary seat.

The council also endorsed Omar Mohammed Maalim for Mandera County Senate.

The decision throws the political future of Qaras into confusion after elders prevailed and asked him not to contest. The council chairman Mohamud Khalif said all factors had been considered when coming up with candidates to represent the clan.

He said: “The Arabia declaration was binding and anyone who goes against the decision will face the wrath of the community”.

Issack served as Mandera East East MP from 1995 to 2007, culminating in his appointment as Assistant minister for Local Government. Farah has unsuccessfully contested for the same seat in the last two General Elections. Qaras, who left the endorsement retreat in a huff, later told The Standard On Sunday that the meeting was preliminary.

“The meeting was not conclusive. There will be a final meeting soon where the matter would be decided,” Qaras said.

While welcoming the endorsement, Issack said the new constituency required strong leadership to steer it to development.

“The decision reached in Arabia was binding and anybody who breaches the agreement will face the wrath of the whole community,” he said. Lafey, which was carved out of the larger Mandera East constituency during the boundaries review, is dominated by the Murulle clan and the anointed person has a head-start because of the elders’ influence.

Omar said they will form alliances with other clans to win the Senate and alluded to the fact that it is not yet a concluded affair.

“We will work with other communities for a better Mandera,” he said. The decision by the Murulle clan to go for Senate follows that of the Gurre community declaration to go unchallenged for Governor.

Security, education, and  are the main challenges facing the county, which sits on the triangular top right end of the Kenyan map, bordering restless Somalia and Ethiopia.

Separately, an aspirant for Garissa County governor’s seats has taken charge of his campaigns a month after resigning as Northern Water Service Board CEO. Mr  Mohammed Shurie campaign was being run by youth, elders, and women.

Shurie officially took charge promising to work alongside his campaign team.